The reality of Online University
Doing Online University at home is very challenging and it can be much harder to focus at home. Being on campus offers so many potential study spaces, but most have them now closed due to lockdown. I miss the resources and peacefulness of the library, the sense of solidary as we all do university work in silence. I miss dinner with my flatmates who understand the awkwardness of Microsoft Teams breakout rooms. On a videocall at my kitchen table with my headphones in is not what I imagined seminars to be like when I applied to university in the Autumn of 2019, although I know not returning to university is for my own safety.
Things I find useful:
A Tab organiser such as Tabox or the inbuilt chrome tab organiser when researching and writing detailed essays. Tab organisers allow you to save your tabs you into grouped topics such as further reading, lecture notes, planning notes and the essay itself. Using this method recently has improved my organisation and prevented me from feeling overwhelmed by the dozens of different tabs that can build up. Tab organisers allow you to save your tabs you into grouped topics such as further reading, lecture notes, planning notes and the essay itself.
Calming Spotify study playlists and headphones help me to drown out the background noise of home and zone in on university tasks. Many students also find lofi beats aid concentration.
It can be useful to change where you are studying, even if that means changing workspaces with a family member for a small change of scenery. Doing this can refresh your mind and give you a renewed focus. I know it is hard not having the opportunity to go to the library to get some work done in a quiet environment for a few hours. I am aware that no everyone has the luxury of a traditional desk to work at, but even moving from the living room coffee table to a kitchen table might help you feel refreshed half way through the day.
It is important to have breaks and go on walks in your local area to break up your day. No one can focus for hours on end and it’s good for your mental health to get fresh air, even when masked.
Use mediation apps like headspace or the free app Medito to unwind from the stress. I know mediation is not for everyone, but it is worth trying. It can help to clear your mind and has helped me relax before bed without overthinking.
Audiobooks and podcasts can be useful as a short break between tasks or comforting background noise. If your family are key workers it might also be helpful to combat feelings of loneliness
Productivity apps such as todoist or notion can help you organise your day. This prevents me from feeling overwhelmed by the number of tasks and can with time management.
If you are doing school, college or university work I hope this blog post gave you some useful tips and new methods to cope with working from home.